UAE’s new visa rules to boost business, tourism


Abdul Basit

The UAE government is leaving no stone unturned by extending more and more relaxation to businessmen for ease of doing business. In this regard a series of announcements were made during the last couple of weeks and the latest one is a legislative package of visa facilities and a strategic decision with regards to foreign workers’ insurance in private sector.
The UAE Cabinet on June 13 approved a new insurance scheme for workers. The previous mandatory deposit of Dh3,000 per worker is now replaced by a new insurance scheme that cost only Dh60 annually per worker. It aims to achieve a wider coverage of the rights and entitlements for the workers. The value of the insurance policy in the new system is Dh60 per year for each worker and covers the workers’ entitlements in terms of end of service benefits, vacation allowance, overtime allowance, unpaid wages, worker’s return ticket and cases of work injury, in which the insurance coverage amounts to Dh20,000 per worker.
The newly created scheme secures workers’ rights in the private sector and reduces the burdens on employers. It allows businesses to recover approximately Dh14 billion, representing the value of current guarantees paid by employers, which will enable them to further invest in the development of their business. The system also enhances the ease of doing business in the UAE, which effectively contributes to market prosperity and growth.
The Cabinet also adopted a number of visa facilitations for visitors, residents, families and people overstaying their visa to cater to a wider segment of the society. The Cabinet approved a new legislative package, including a review of the current residency system to allow a two-year extension of the residency period for the dependents of their parents after finishing their university studies.
A new decision has also been approved to exempt transit passengers from all entry fees for the first 48 hours. Transit visa can be extended for up to 96 hours for a fee of only Dh50. Obtaining transit visa will be facilitated by a number of express counter at the passport-control hall across UAE airports.
The Cabinet also adopted a decision to grant people overstaying their visa a chance to leave the country voluntarily without a “no entry” passport stamp. A new 6-month visa will be introduced for job seekers who overstayed their visa but wish to work in the country. The temporary visa enhances the UAE’s position as a land of opportunities and a destination for talents and professionals. As for Individuals who entered the UAE illegally, they will have the chance to leave voluntarily with a “no entry” stamp for two years given that they provide a valid return ticket.
Equally, in step aimed at simplifying the process and easing the financial burden on individuals wishing to adjust or renew their visa, they can now do so for a fee without having to leave and re-enter the country.
On the other hand, the Cabinet adopted a resolution on empowering “People of Determination” and enabling them to access the job market. The resolution provides them with the necessary support to obtain equal employment opportunities in various sectors in line with the Government’s social development programs for all segments of the society.
Expatriates and businessmen in the UAE welcomed the decision said it is another landmark decision to promote business and tourism in the country.
Firoz Merchant, Philanthropist, Founder and Chairman, Pure Gold Group said: “The new visa rules … further enforces the nation’s standing as a highly competitive economy, offering professionals and workers more opportunities for personal growth and well-being. It will enhance the nation’s access to talent – especially youth – and promote its ease of doing business. The new rules are also humanitarian in their outlook as it offers a second chance for people who have overstayed as well as makes it easier for people to transfer their visa status.”
Imran Farooq, CEO of Samana Group of Companies, said, “UAE cabinet decision of replacing the Dh3,000 bank guarantee with insurance and other employee benefits and low-cost medical insurance will ease the companies doing business in UAE. Dubai’s Dh14 billion and Abu Dhabi’s Dh50 billion economic stimuli will further boost UAE economy. Reforms will enhance UAE’s economic competitiveness.”
Sudhakar Rao, Chairman of Gemini Property Developers, said, “This is a game-changing move and will significantly reduce the cost of doing business. The release of the Dh14 billion bank guarantee will help many companies to utilise for their business operations.”